Friday, August 5, 2011

Team fights increased cholera in Haiti

NOT FORGOTTEN: The MGH team with colleagues at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti

AS HAITI CONTINUES to recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake, a team from the MGH Center for Global Health traveled there July 17 to combat rising cases of cholera, an outbreak which began last October. The team, which deployed in conjunction with Project HOPE, includes five nurses and a physician. Team members are tasked with treating infected patients, training front-line health workers and educating at-risk populations.

“The situation in Haiti is still quite dire,” says Larry Ronan, MD, an MGH physician and director of the Durant Fellowship in Refugee Medicine. “Infectious diseases like cholera thrive on poor sanitation, limited resources, and a lack of training and education. To combat this recent resurgence, our team is working to address each of these issues.”

The team – Marjorie Curran, MD; Grace Deveney, RN, MPH; Katherine Fillo, RN, MPH; April Kaufman, RN; Colleen Shea, RN; and Susan Taricani, RN – is working at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, Haiti. They joined Kerry Quealy, RN, BSN, an MGH nurse already helping in Haiti as a 2011 Thomas S. Durant Fellow in Refugee Medicine.

“We were initially seeing around 200 cholera patients per day,” wrote Deveney in an email from Haiti. “Thankfully those numbers are decreasing slightly, but there is still much work to be done.”

To prepare the team for deployment, the Center for Global Health provided training in cholera treatment and prevention as well as in intravenous rehydration techniques and Haitian culture.

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